Mon, 16 Dec 2019

WHITE HOUSE - U.S. President Donald Trump, under fire for criticism of four House Democratic congresswomen that has been deemed racist and xenophobic, is not backing down.

Trump, who has said the lawmakers should leave the United States, was asked by a reporter where they should go.

"It's up to them. Wherever they want - or they can stay," replied the president during Tuesday's Cabinet meeting. "But they should love our country. They shouldn't hate our country."

Trump, holding up pieces of paper, said he has "a list of things here said by the congresswomen that are so bad, so horrible that I don't want to read it."

The president added, "it's my opinion, they hate our country."

Hours earlier on Twitter, Trump declared, "I don't have a racist bone in my body" as he continued to push back on criticism about his comments directed at the four women of color, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayana Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

Trump has repeatedly since Sunday targeted the four members of the House of Representatives.

The Democrat-led House of Representatives is set to vote Tuesday on a resolution "condemning President Trump's racist comments" targeting the four lawmakers.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced the vote and said he hoped Republicans would "put country before party" and vote in favor of the measure alongside Democrats.

The resolution is being condemned by the Republicans, who are in the minority in the House.

"It's all politics," decried the Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy.

"This is one more chance to go after our president," said Rep. Steve Scalise, the second highest-ranking Republican in the House.

Trump set off a firestorm by telling the four Democratic lawmakers to "go back" to their countries and fix their homelands before they attack him and the United States, although all four are U.S. citizens, with Somali refugee Omar a naturalized U.S. citizen and the other three U.S. citizens by birth.

The targets of Trump's attacks appeared before reporters Monday in a collective and blistering show of force to rebut Trump's social media and verbal volleys against them.

"He's launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the United States House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color," said Omar, a Minnesota congresswoman. "This is the agenda of white nationalists."

Omar and Tlaib, who are the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, explicitly called for Trump's impeachment.

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